30 Days of Tarot — Day 5: When and where did you give your first reading?
Short Answer: November 2007, on an outdoor bench at a local taqueria, and it was bullshit.
I had the Universal Waite for a few months by then. Long enough to memorize the cheat sheet in the back of the LWB. I had purchased a set of meanings from a popular tarot website and felt I had all the insight I needed to make a proper go at this tarot reading thing for my own personal use.
I didn’t intend for my coworkers to know anything about my private life. Certainly not anything tarot related as the boss was a counselor at a Christian church. But we all know how Best Laid Plans end, right? We were getting cheap food from the first place we saw after a completed work assignment. As I sat down, my purse caught on the table’s corner and fell.
Out spilled tarot cards and wallet. I recovered the wallet immediately.
My partner snatched the deck and refused to give it back until he had thumbed through all seventy-eight cards and mocked each and every one of them along with the stereotypes of the foreign tarot reader with her scams and declarations of curses. To his surprise, I agreed with him.
Between mouthfuls of steak and onion we discussed the art of fortune telling, the fact the cards are paper and ink, statistics, and why such superstitions were held on so tightly despite all the scientific advancements of our modern age.
We kept a straight face for three chews before nearly suffocating ourselves with laughter.
He asked for a reading. I declined. I didn’t feel comfortable playing the role of fortuneteller. The cards were thinking prompts I announced, not anything witchy.
He asked for a reading again, insisting that my doubt was what would make it legitimate. Because I knew how the scams worked, because I didn’t claim any special witchy status, because I had no faith in divination, it would work.
Okay. Why the hell not. We have time to kill. He shuffled then handed me the cards to shuffle more. He told me when to cut and how many cards to discard off the top. He announced his question with severity.
“When will I get laid?”
I almost threw the deck at him. After our laughter settled, I dealt three cards and turned them over. I read the LWB’s meaning to him and rolled my eyes at the nonanswer they gave. Each card by itself was random bullshit just as I expected.
He wasn’t content with that. That’s the answer you would get from a busker, he said. The cards speak. It was my job to listen to them. Take another look at the cards and tell him what I heard them say.
“You have a choice. Get laid tonight and suffer. Wait for later and have more fun.”
His mirth fled his face. We sat in silence. He picked the LWB from my hands and looked up what the cards individually said. They didn’t match what I proclaimed.
“Hell, no. This is bullshit! I’m no fortuneteller!”
“Got that right.”
I picked up my cards and after counting them to make sure none had gone on an adventure without me, put them away firmly in the bottom of my purse. We returned to the office and said nothing about the cards or proclamation.
The next week, he pulled me aside to tell me what came of the reading. The night of the reading he had an opportunity to proceed with his A+ Master Plan. He thought twice about it because of the cards, and took her home instead. Turns out, the person he picked up at the bar was not of legal age and when he took her to the address she told him, her parents answered the door. He became the hero of the hour.
“I know you still think your cards are for psychological work. But you’re on to something. You might wanna explore that side of you.”
So I did. And here I am.